Gabon releases men arrested after gay wedding

Sidonie Flora Ouwe (or Oude), Gabon's attorney general, reportedly ordered the arrests. (Photo courtesy of Gabonews)
Sidonie Flora Ouwe, Gabon’s attorney general, reportedly ordered the arrests. (Photo courtesy of Gabonews)

A total of six men have been released in Gabon after being arrested in connection with a reported same-sex wedding, the Associated Press said.

Gabon has no law against gay marriage or homosexual activity, unlike 38 other African countries.

About the six arrestees (previously reported as three men), the article reported:

“Officials who held them for one night decided not to bring charges against them after determining that no marriage had occurred, said prosecutor Sidonie Flore Ouwe. …

“Ouwe said that a gay marriage ceremony would constitute obscenity and an affront to public order punishable by law.”

A reputed same-sex wedding on the night of Dec. 29-30 was widely reported in Gabon by Gabonews, Afrik.com, Gabon Review and Gabon Libre.

A reason for Ouwe’s conclusion that no marriage occurred was that members of the two parties’ families were not present, as would be expected in a traditional wedding, she said, as quoted in the Gabon Review:

“In this case, no member of the biological family of those allegedly married was present at the ceremony. It is therefore not a customary marriage,” Ouwe said.

She proposed that the government should enact a law governing homosexuality in Gabon.

The Gabon Review urged the country’s leaders to think about how to respect people’s “right to lead their lives as they want” before passing such laws.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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